High praise for storm response

Published 1:13 am Saturday, February 1, 2014

Local government leaders this week praised their crews – and local residents – for their response to emergencies arising from the Jan. 28 winter storm.

“We are thankful that the weather was not any worse than it was because, had we had a snow fall that had been predicted even up until midnight of Tuesday night, the problem would had been much, much worse,” Mayor Earl Johnson said. “We were fortunate that the weather was not worse than it was.”

Johnson said the city was as prepared for the storm as it was possible to be.

“ We had planning sessions, and every department head had their responsibility to take care of,” Johnson said. “And we had at least a daily meeting during the cleanup.”

Johnson said he there are many people he would like to commend.

“Those would include the law enforcement community, but particularly the Andalusia Police Department, who I thought did a yeoman’s job,” he said.

Some of the officers’ wives prepared food at the department not only the police department, but also for the fire department and for other city employees who were out and didn’t have time to get something to eat.

“Our fire department, our public works department, our utility departments, all of these men and women performed at a high level and I hope that the citizens of Andalusia understand the professionalism of these individuals and are thankful for their efforts,” Johnson said.

He also praised the planning and development department, and members of the city and utilities office staff.

“I’d like to thank the news media who were here to keep the community informed. It’s very difficult to get timely information out to the community in a situation like this and all of those folks helped very much to help us get that accomplished.

And finally, but certainly not least, I want to thank the citizens of Andalusia who for the most part cooperated with our efforts by staying off the streets and not getting involved in dangerous predicaments that would have required a response by police, fire and rescue people, thereby endangering those responders,” Johnson said. “Again, Andalusia stepped up to the plate, and without their cooperation, we would not have gotten through this as successfully as we did, and for that I am very thankful.”

Currently, there are 154 employees on the county’s roster, and Chiarman Bill Godwin said during the inclement weather, those employees worked to keep roads safe and citizens informed.

“(The commission) did what was appropriate,” he said. “We called an early Monday meeting to handle things, and I think things went pretty well. I am disappointed we didn’t open those roads in the county as they became partially clear earlier on Friday. I think it was an imposition on the public, but it worked out.”

All county roads were cleared for travel just after lunch on Friday – nearly 24 hours after city streets and state highways were opened for travel Thursday.”